The experience of our first company retreat was a shared one, each with our own “firsts” and favorite moments. It seemed more fitting not to share it from a single perspective but collectively as a team. What follows is told in our own words, each of us contributing to the story that is Potomac.
You know those friends you have where you can go years without talking or seeing one another, but the moment you get together, it’s like no time has passed at all? That’s how the staff retreat was for me—like seeing long-lost friends that you couldn’t wait to hear everything that’s going on in their world and give them a big hug. Mushy, right?!? Don’t care. Guess I’m the resident sap here. I’m okay with that.¹
If there is one thing that everyone at Potomac will agree on, ⁸ it’s that working for a remote company is the best thing in the world. You don’t have to commute and have tons of flexibility, but face-to-face interactions are missing from time to time.²
We’ve become a close-knit group remotely but being able to spend this kind of quality time together made me feel much more connected to the company and our team. I especially enjoyed seeing everyone’s real personalities come out away from work.³
Most work-related functions I’ve been to over my career have been mediocre at best,⁴ and outside of the virtual happy hours, I didn’t interact much with the other departments.⁵ But this trip was a blast, connecting with colleagues in real life and having some fun. ⁴
If it wasn’t for Denver, I would not have the memory of turning back the clock as a certain half of the team had a quiet night at a wine bar while “The Kidz” (myself included) went to two pool bars and ended up in a private room blasting karaoke. Most memorable; Jordan rapping Biggie or perhaps Tori orchestrating B-B-B-Bennie and the Jets.⁶
People and relationships are the most important thing on earth; without personal connections, no company can thrive.⁷
To sit around a table, share a meal, laugh, brainstorm, and envision the future we are building is something that stays with you. I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity, Manish for making it happen, and everyone for participating.⁸
My favorite memory from our staff retreat is quite simple. While Christopher is officially “Bougie AF,” our man Dan Russo, CMT, is his wingman, often sipping a bougie wine during our virtual happy hours discussing the finer restaurant world of NYC.
As we attempted to bring him into our world, the comments, razzing, and shenanigans continued through much of our staff retreat until…what to my wondering eyes did appear, but the great Dan Russo eating at Chili’s drinking a beer. Oh, how he is a changed man. We have improved what no one thought could be done. Maybe the snow brought an early Christmas miracle through this little bit of cheer.⁹
Growing a remote team offers tremendous benefits but also introduces a lot of challenges, especially around building relationships. I would probably structure the retreat differently in the future and add a little more work-related activities, ⁹ I would appreciate more brainstorming among departments on our current projects. It would be a great way to get everyone’s input and unique perspectives¹⁰
Since this was the first time, we all met in IRL, it was part of the plan to blow off some steam and celebrate. ⁹
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